Scottsdale Prep TOC Congress Bid and BQ

2021 — Scottsdale, AZ/US

Welcome to Congressional Debate! - Congress without the bickering, partisanship, filibustering and shenanigans.  Mostly.

You are cordially invited to our eighth annual Congress tournament! It will be held at the Scottsdale Preparatory Academy campus on Saturday, September 25th, 2021.  Scottsdale Prep is located at 16537 N 92nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. Most people will want to exit the 101 at Frank Lloyd Wright (we're in between Frank Lloyd Wright and Bell). We are excited to host this in-person tournament.Please make sure all coaches, competitors, judges, parents/guests are aware of our expectations under the Covid19 Mitigation tab to the right. Thank you for your patience this year as I figure out how to best transition this tournament onto after seven years of hosting it on 

Once again, in addition to our standard Congressional Debate Tournament, we are pleased to offer Big Questions Debate.  We need 15 students to compete in Big Questions in order to qualify for the grant from the NSDA and John Templeton Foundation.

Below is all the relevant information in a somewhat random order: 

  • It's on a Saturday congress so schools that can't miss a whole day (usually Friday) to attend Congress will be able to attend.
  • It is early in the year so your students get a chance to learn how Congress works
  • If your team is new to, please train your competitors and judges in how to create accounts. These youtube videos are an example resource: 
    • You will want your competitors and judges to have linked Tabroom account so that they receive email and text alerts with postings and so that we can most easily assign them to judge.
    • We anticipate using paper ballots as internet will not be available for the Scottsdale Prep Congress & BQ in-person tournament, but having your judges trained for how to submit online ballots is a good practice for future tournaments that will do online ballots for in-person tournaments. 
  • See here for resources for learning about Congressional Debate: 
  • Depending on the number of entries, we will likely break to a Senate finals round (TOC bids eligible to the top 6) and a consolation House Finals round. Since we do not have time on Saturday for a semifinal round, we hope that this gives more students the experience of debating in a congress out-round.
  • Each division will have separate awards
  • All awards will be nifty gavels you can use the rest of the year.
  • Top 6 in each HS division finals, top 3 in MS.
  • All finalists will be recognized.
  • There will be a Middle School division
  • There will be 2 prelim sessions then break to finals
  • HS Finals will use Direct Questioning
  • I will do my best to keep all houses 20 students or less (historically, we've leaned towards 16-18)
  • Each session is Self-Contained
    • Precedence resets
    • Recency resets
    • Elect your PO
    • No bill can carry over. Finish all business in one session.
  • 2021 Update: To give teams more time to research (and lighten the research load in a year when many teams are rebuilding), and me more time to focus on transitioning the tournament onto, we will just use the NSDA September 2021 Sample Congress Docket instead of having schools submit legislation. Items 8 (Middle East), 9 (Anti-trust), and 10 (Island Nations) are reserved for the finals round and should not be debated in prelims. Competitors in each prelim chamber will select a docket order of their choosing using items 1-7 in prelims. As no author schools will be present for any bill, any competitor can volunteer to sponsor any bill. 
  • We hope to resume having schools submit authorship legislation for our 2022 tournament.
  • Judging requirements are One judge per 6 entries. Judging (as a scorekeeper) is not difficult. Your parents can do this.  See the guide to Congressional Debate in the downloads page.
  • High school judges may end up judging Middle School rounds (and vice versa)
  • Please indicate via the notes if your judge can serve as a Parliamentarian.
  • Parli in the middle school chamber(s) will serve as as Presiding Officer
  • Only one chamber is available for entry. Please complete this google form telling us how you want your students placed into groupings by Monday, September 20th at 6PM. If you don't, I will use a "Magic 8-ball" and assign them.
  • Please mix inexperienced students with experienced students so they can learn the ropes
  • Don't stack houses (all experienced in one, inexperienced in another).  If I suspect such shenanigans, I will move them around myself - without consulting the Magic 8-ball.
  • PO Elections will be as follows:
    • Up to 4 candidates will give a 1 minute speech as to why they should serve as PO
    • If there are more than 4 candidates, the Parli will put all names in a hat, and draw out 4
    • If a hat is not available, the nearest facsimile thereof will be utilized
    • Students vote for ONE candidate
    • The candidate with a 51% majority wins. If one is not found on the first ballot, then the candidate with the least votes is removed and the chamber votes again. Repeat until someone has a majority.
    • Each session will have its own PO election
    • The PO each session should be from a different school
    • This should be a great time for less experienced students to learn how to PO
  • Each chamber will have 2 judges and 1 parliamentarian. The Parli will stay with the same house both sessions. Hence the 1-per-6 judge requirements
  • You can enter up to 18 high school students and 12 middle school students per school. 
  • If you exceed the above numbers, those students will go on a wait list. If the facilities allow, they'll be cleared off the wait list and entered
  • All Checks and PO's must be payable to SCOTTSDALE PREPARATORY ACADEMY
  • There will be food available for purchase. You'll need to order lunch and pay before the tournament starts.
  • The judges lounge (room 104) will be catered.
  • It's going to be fun.  You know you want to be there!
  • HS Finals will use Direct Questioning, while prelims will continue to use single questioning like prior years.  The PO will select questioners using a separate precedence and recency chart, and questioners will each cross examine the speaker for 30 second chunks. MS Finals will continue using single questioning the entire tournament.
  • There will be judge food provided at the breaks.
  • Registration closes Monday, September 20th at 5:00PM.  

Any questions, email Travis Clement of Scottsdale Preparatory Academy.


Note to self, the following lines were removed from this year's tournament but should be added back in future years: 

  • Submit all bills in the properly formated MS Word document (not PDF) to
  • There are Microsoft Word templates for formatting on the File Downloads tab so there is no excuse for shoddy bills.
  • Please have all bills in by Friday, September 6, 2019 (5PM)
  • I'll have a ballot up where each team may rank the bills and remove extraneous bills.
  • This will help limit the number of bills your team has to research and raise the quality of the research
  • We may use Nationals bills as filler items.
  • Middle School will use the High school docket and don't need to submit bills (but can if they want)
  • There will be some sort of prize for the best legislation